Offbeat L.A.: Four Local Christmas Picks to Help You Find That Missing Magic

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A walk down Candy Cane Lane (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

This time of the year comes with a lot of pressure. Often we are not only trying to please the ones we love, but we are subconsciously searching to relive our own perfect Christmas Pasts, something that can be far out of reach for many. While Christmas joy is rampant, it often magnifies the loneliness and sadness in others- those missing loved ones, those who are struggling with dramas or stresses. While there is no definitive cure for the Christmas Blues, the only helpful medicine may be a little extra cheer. Here are some tried and true SoCal spots to find that elusive Christmas spirit. They are perfect for all ages, and two of them are absolutely free…

Reindeer on display at the L.A. Zoo (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Reindeer on display at the L.A. Zoo (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Reindeer Romp at The L.A. Zoo Did you know that all of Santa’s Reindeer were female? The gals are the only ones who have antlers this time of year. This is one of the fun facts you will learn when you visit Reindeer Romp and meet the four furry ladies, Noel, Belle, Velvet and Jingle, who are visiting Los Angeles until January 3rd. It is great to see these majestic animals close up, especially this time of year when they are so connected to our holiday tales. Enjoy a puppet show and a make-your-own antlers art station. Pay a little extra to get photos with Santa Claus. Afterward visit all of the other animals at the zoo and make a lovely day.

Candy Cane Lane in Altadena (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills Over the top decorations can do wonders for a weary heart. A little bit of kitsch can bring a smile, laughter and joy to even those with a Scrooge-like disposition. The folks in the neighborhood around Oxnard and Lubau Streets have been going all out since 1952. The cool decorations often have moving parts and are fabulously lit and eclectic. Candy Cane Lane isn’t just one street, but many streets in this Woodland Hills neighborhood all radiating out from the above intersection. Although driving keeps you toasty in your car, traffic is often very slow moving and it is often more fun to walk.

The Ghost of Christmas Present at Chill (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Ghost of Christmas Past at Chill (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

CHILL at the Queen Mary The Ice Kingdom was a topic of a 2013 Offbeat L.A. article and it is still super enjoyable. This year the theme of the amazing carved ice sculptures is Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. After donning a provided parka, visitors are able to brave the bone-chilling 9-degree temperature and view intricate and elaborate carvings pertaining to the story. See the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and then thaw out a bit with vodka in the Ice Bar before hitting the 100-foot tall ice tubing luge. Visit the Claus Cottage and take photos with Santa and his Mrs and then try out the ice skating rink.

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena Although this mile-long stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue is not bigger-than-life in the way that Woodland Hills festoons their streets, this picturesque drive will warm your heart just the same. Christmas Tree Lane comes with a long history and is actually the oldest large-scale yearly Christmas display in the whole United States. Beginning in 1920, this roadway, full of 134 pine trees, has been decorated with over 10,000 lights. It is quietly romantic and beautiful. It is more subtle than you might expect, but this makes the magic a little more substantial. Knowing its history makes the drive even more special.

A Charles Dickens Christmas at the Queen Mary (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

A Charles Dickens Christmas at the Queen Mary (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Nikki Kreuzer

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for over 30 years. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring & photographing the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 110 Offbeat L.A. articles, published at the Los Angeles Beat. As a journalist she contributes regularly to LA Weekly, Blurred Culture and has also been published by, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also a mosaic artist, radio DJ and published photographer. Her photography has been featured in exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art, in print at the LA Weekly and in exhibit at the Neutra Museum in Los Angeles. She has recorded with the band Nikki & Candy as bassist, vocalist and songwriter, directing and appearing in the 'Sunshine Sunshine Santa Claus' music video for the band. She co-hosted the monthly radio show Bubblegum & Other Delights on for over two years. Her acting credits include a recent role in the ABC-TV show 'For The People', 'Incident at Guilt Ridge', 'Two and a Half Men', the film 'Minority Report' and 'Offbeat L.A.', a web series, written and hosted by Nikki Kreuzer. Her writing, radio and video portfolio can be found at, her photography work @Lunabeat on Instagram and her music history posts @NikkiKreuzer on Twitter. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes or Amazon.
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